Owens-Douglas fistfight contributed to suspension

Updated: November 7, 2005, 9:07 AM ET
ESPN.com news services

PHILADELPHIA -- Terrell Owens was involved in a locker-room fight with former teammate Hugh Douglas a few days before the All-Pro wideout was suspended indefinitely without pay by the Philadelphia Eagles.

On his radio show Sunday night, Douglas said no punches were landed.

"It wasn't as big as everyone is trying to make it out to be, it really wasn't," he said on WIP-AM.

"The sad part about the situation is, it got to this point, whatever happened. And I apologize for it."

Owens was not with Philadelphia on Sunday night for its 17-10 loss to the the Washington Redskins in Landover, Md. Eagles president Joe Banner said coach Andy Reid would meet with the player in the coming week.

"Andy will basically figure out where we go from here," Banner said during an impromptu news conference on the Eagles' sideline before kickoff. "He indicated to T.O. that he'd talk to him later this week and give him a more definitive status report."

Banner wouldn't answer questions about how long the suspension would last, whether he expected Owens to play for Philadelphia again or what the specific reason was for the punishment. But Banner did say the suspension is without pay. Owens is scheduled to make $3.5 million in base salary this season, so the suspension would cost him more than $200,000 per game.

"There's an accumulation of events culminating with a series of things last week, including the very public interview that he did," Banner said. "I think there's a long list of things, some of which you know about and some of which aren't public."

Owens was suspended on Saturday, two days after he criticized the organization for not publicly recognizing his 100th career touchdown catch. In the same interview with ESPN.com on Thursday, Owens took another shot at quarterback Donovan McNabb, saying the Eagles would be better off with Green Bay's Brett Favre.

Owens apologized Friday in a statement and later on his weekly radio show, but the damage already was done.

Asked if Owens will play again for the Eagles, his agent, Drew Rosenhaus, told WSVN-TV:

"I don't know. We're going to have to see what the Eagles decide. Everything is very much up in the air right now. The Eagles have said that they'll think about it. They're going to make some determination as to what their plans are. Right now, this is indefinite."

A team source told ESPN's Chris Mortensen that Douglas, whose post with the Eagles he re-titled "bad-ass-ador," entered the team's training room Wednesday and announced "I know there are people in here faking injuries." The comment apparently led to the scrum between Owens and Douglas.

One source told the Trenton Times the fight "was like WWE Smackdown." Another source told the paper both Douglas and Owens threw at least two punches before Owens challenged McNabb and then everyone else in the room, saying "You want some? Anyone else want some?"

"This is not what you want kids to see. I would like to apologize to my former teammates and the city of Philadelphia," Douglas said on WIP-AM on Sunday, "because this situation, it goes beyond football. It's just sad, and it's obvious [Owens] needs counseling."

McNabb told ESPN's Suzy Kolber he called a team meeting Friday, which Owens attended, to discuss the team's unrest and pronounced to all, looking at T.O. directly, "You're either with me or against me."

Owens' apologies in private to the club and in public on Friday apparently did not meet Reid's standards and T.O. was suspended on Saturday.

"Most of the leaders on the team felt that T.O.'s a grown man and he needed to handle himself accordingly," Douglas said on his radio show. "But it was a situation where we didn't know how crazy this man was, you know what I mean? We just didn't know how many issues this man had and it just got out of hand. I think everybody was sitting around like, 'Wow, I didn't know this man was this crazy.' "

According to the Trenton newspaper, Owens and Douglas have been at odds since training camp where they almost got into an altercation in an elevator at Lehigh University. Douglas was among the few players to publicly say Owens should honor his current contract when T.O. demanded a new one this past offseason.

Rookie Reggie Brown replaced Owens in the starting lineup Sunday night against Washington.

Information from ESPN.com senior NFL writer Len Pasquarelli and The Associated Press was used this report. To check out Len's chat archive, click here Insider.

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